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The Macbook Caper

wyvern


On Sunday July 23rd an Ebay auction I had up for a Macbook Pro 2.2Ghz ended with the winner as vrotennis. This winner had 148 ratings, all positive. This looked good. That's a higher rating than I have. I got an email through ebay's system from the buyer asking how much shipping would be to this address:

Connie Graham
Abon-Yaschick St. #3, 8
Mirzabeyli
Moscow
125480
RUSSIA

I sent an invoice through Ebay and got the $2100 from a Verified Paypal account with that name on it. No verified address though. So I asked why there was no verified address. This was the reply:

In Russia we don't have an address with paypal accounts, because it's
only possible with credit card registration.
Russian's paypal accounts can be funded only by bank account & they
are verified by banks,
not by credit cards. That's why I don't have an address in paypal.
But as you can see
- I'm paypal verified member (you can click on my payment to see the >
details of the transaction)


That seemed reasonable at the time. Only now do I know that there ARE no Russian paypal accounts of any kind.

The money was in. The english in the email gave me no reason to doubt. It sounded like an American exchange student to me, given the name.
So I packed the computer.

Here's the computer inside it's own box.

Here's it in the box.

And here's the label on the side with the Serial Number.


It left the US on July 26 for Moscow with the tracking #EQ726752752US
That day, Paypal put a hold on the payment saying that the account was claiming Unauthorized Access. I went to the post office, but they couldn't contact anyone to try to get it stopped. I also emailed the Russian post office. The box won't stop at customs because the one thing that they asked me to do which I should have not done was declare $150 value on the customs form. I thought it was a reputable person just trying not to pay 50% duty on something they were buying. Turns out the vrotennis ebay account was hacked. They sent me an email telling me not to honor the deal a day after I mailed it. And the paypal account was a real account, but it belonged to the same person that lost their ebay account. So someone had their bank account emptied with the money that went to me for awhile. I've contact the postal inspector. And the FBI's Internet Crime Division. And Ebay. And Paypal. I have no hope, but it's all I can think to do.

Update: The money had cleared and was transferred to my bank BEFORE paypal decided to take it back and before I sent the box. So I had to transfer it back to not have a -$2k balance.

Comments

( 218 comments )
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zloba
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:20 am (UTC)
Too bad, man. It seems that Connie Graham have nothing to do with the P/O box #3, 8 at 125480 Postal offce in Moscow. This post office is located in Tushino district of Moscow and my guess that the notebook is just stolen. I guess that anyone can own a p/o box without any ID.
ex_zed771
Aug. 1st, 2006 07:09 am (UTC)
Хаха, какой-то Мирзабели в Тушино получит макбук нахаляву, я так понял?
(no subject) - zloba - Aug. 1st, 2006 08:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - g_straighteners - Jun. 26th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
amenka
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:54 am (UTC)
Awful!
Be sure, that man couldn't get the item without any ID in Postal office. That's the rule for everyone.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
In Russia, anything is possible with militsa on the payroll
unfortunately, this package could be picked up, taken, or even sold by the russian police at any given time. Money talks over there...I have seen it and experienced such things concerning other areas of the law firsthand.
polumrak
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:55 am (UTC)
I crossposted it to ru_mac and ru_macsale as agreed and you probably already read my list of actions.
Remember — the computer won't get to the post, only a custom's notification.
And to get stuff from Russian custom one has to show an ID. In our case — a passport.
So if you'll make FBI to do something, you still have a chance to get it back.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - coachwallet - Jun. 26th, 2010 10:13 am (UTC) - Expand
polumrak
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:22 am (UTC)
I just sent the serial number to local Apple Support Centre. If someone brings it to their or dealers' repair store, they'll know it's stolen.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
I deal with this stuff at work all the time, 99% of the time though, members will never see their item or money again.
guao - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - balatro - Aug. 3rd, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
afstyles
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
Thats just wrong. Good luck getting it sorted out.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
Mac users are criminals?
Too bad they dont show that in those lousy Mac commercials.

My brothers mac was shipped in 3 different boxes, it needed drivers to install his camera, it did not come with video editing software built in, and so on.

Those commercials are bogus.

Looks like they should have some Russian scumbag run into the scene, grab the box and run away....

Regardless, sucks to be you bro. Good luck getting it back.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Mac users are criminals?
Well no the Mac is not shipped with Final Cut Pro but it is shipped with iLife which includes iMovie HD...very nice software. NO ONE bundles pro editing software...it is always an addon anywhere. And no not every camera is supported, why didn't you just download it? Buyer beware!
Re: Mac users are criminals? - d14bl0 - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mac users are criminals? - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mac users are criminals? - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 12:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mac users are criminals? - conezy - Aug. 1st, 2006 03:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mac users are criminals? - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 06:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mac users are criminals? - beatngu - Aug. 1st, 2006 08:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mac users are criminals? - (Anonymous) - Aug. 4th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC) - Expand
tokyostreet
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:57 pm (UTC)
What company did you ship it through? The same thing happened to me... but I got my money back from UPS because I insured it and they didn't check the guy's ID. My advice for the future, always take the money out of Paypal and into your account before shipping.
darkmagess
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC)
The problem is that the account that they used to pay was someone's real account. And that person entered an unauthorized claim that paypal agreed with. If I had taken the money out, which I did, I'd have had a -$2k balance with paypal (which I did until I transfered it back)
EH? - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tokyostreet - Jul. 31st, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Exactly - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 12:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Exactly - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 05:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Exactly - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
business the Russian way
no business unless you have the prepayed cash in your hands, that's just how it is, learn it, and move on.
darkmagess
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
Re: business the Russian way
that's the kicker. The money WAS there. Paypal took it back.
Re: business the Russian way - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: business the Russian way - darkmagess - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: business the Russian way - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: business the Russian way - darkmagess - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: business the Russian way - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: business the Russian way - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 12:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: business the Russian way - geekguy - Aug. 2nd, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: business the Russian way - http://6bit.com/josh/ - Nov. 15th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC) - Expand
adskhan
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
lol you got pwned
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
you're a prick
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - klubkid - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
ur a pr1k - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 11:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
You're a fucking bitch - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
In the mirror, every day. - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Brows - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
kutta - (Anonymous) - Aug. 2nd, 2006 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
pholower
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
Digg.com
This has been dugg. Front page.
darkmagess
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Digg.com
God help my inbox.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
No offense to people outside of the US and Canada, but this is a prime example of why I try not to deal with International bidders, or sellers for that matter.
It is not worth the possible frustration in the event you get ripped off, because whatever country the person lives in is not really going to care that much about investigating to get your money or merchandise back.
theducks
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
As an Australian, currently in the UK, people with your attitude annoy me. It's not like we're a third world nation. Sure, not sending it to Africa or to somewhere where you can't speak the local language is fine, but c'mon, we're old buds! :D
customs... - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
No big deal - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
To american ebayers - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
The US is no better. - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 12:43 am (UTC) - Expand
electroly
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
I don't mean to be a jerk, and I mean that seriously, but you got taken on an absolutely textbook example of eBay fraud that even a tiny bit of due diligence would have picked up on. Shipping to Russia, not having a verified address, asking for it to not be declared for the full value; those all should have been tip-offs that you have a scam on your hands. You can't just trust random people on the Internet -- you need to make sure your ass is always covered. I'm sorry you had to learn that the hard way, though.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:13 pm (UTC)
Lesson learned
Don't deal with poor countries. The rich people in those countries don't have to try to save a couple dollars by shopping on ebay, and all the rest are scammers. Expensive lesson, but at least you won't get taken for a car or a house in the future. I hope.

On the other hand, if Paypal tells you to ship it, it should really be their problem. It seems as if Paypal's system got broken in to (or is just broken) and they're just trying to pass the buck to you. They're the ones who should be out $2000. I say sue 'em.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Lesson learned
I would have to agree. If paypal verifies the money is in your account and you ship it because of their verification then I would think they should be held liable.

I know they'll say something like it's the user's fault but blame the medium of transaction, they'll probably rather reimburse you than hire a lawyer.
Re: Lesson learned - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Lesson learned - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 08:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Lesson learned - (Anonymous) - Aug. 4th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:13 pm (UTC)
Too bad, but you should now know better.
1. Don't ship until payment has cleared
2. Be wary when sending things overseas to strangers
3. Honesty is the best policy. You tried to skirt the rules by not declaring the proper value, and you have payed dearly for it.
4. With large transactions, always verify the identity of the other party.

I think greed got the better part of you, you didn't due your homework and you got burned. Paypal has a lot of problems, but you should accept responsibility for this one yourself. You screwed up, learn from it and move on.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
Its ok man
The same shit happened to me about a month ago. When I got the money in my bank account, I just left my paypal account the way it was. -$427 for something i sold. The unverified address thing really kicks you in the ass.
Re: Too bad, but you should now know better. - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
time to close my papypal account
I was fuming here initially.. "how could someone send the laptop without getting the money up front", and then I realize what had happened.. that is so bogus. Paypal screwed you, no question about it. I wonder how/if it's possible to get around this.. Close your bank account after the transaction? Change the account number? But I mean this is quite a precaution.. Once you have the money, Paypal should be bearing the loss, not end end user.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
Paypal Says...
Paypal says that if you ship to an non-confirmed address that you take on all the risk.

They say this multiple times. Paypal sucks, but you did everything you could to make it easier for the crook to take your money.

BTW - why ship so fast? Wait till the money transfers into your account first.
bery
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Paypal Says...
The money *was* in the account. Paypal took it back, claiming the account had been hacked.

IMO, the brunt of the fault in this is on Paypal itself; it should not be the responsibility of User B if User A's account was breeched. It's identity theft, for sure, but there are insurance guards against that. I can't imagine why they can't cover the costs of hacked accounts - they should be legally required to. At the very least, it would be supreme motivation for them to halt hacking altogether.
Re: Paypal Says... - (Anonymous) - Aug. 2nd, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Paypal Says... - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Paypal Says... - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Paypal Says... - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
Credit Card
If you used a credit card to pay for the item call up your credit card company and explain to them that you did not receive what you've paid for. Credit card companies have internet shopping policies and most of the times are more helpful than Paypal. If you didn't pay by credit card, then make sure you do next time.
webmasterconrad
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Credit Card
Uh, he was the seller, not the buyer.
How would his credit card company be able to help him here?
Re: Credit Card - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Credit Card - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Credit Card - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 11:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Credit Card - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 02:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Credit Card - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 05:35 am (UTC) - Expand
d14bl0
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
Read PayPal's and eBay's Terms of Service entirely. You may be able to find a loophole in their system that'll either force them to give you a full refund, or the right to sue, where'd you get all your money back again (as well as some well-deserved negative attention towards PayPal).
tabooyah
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
Use eBay's/Paypal's PR department
We as an online consumer community need to make it heard that this type of bullshit won't be tolerated. The Digg posting is a great 1st step. If eBay is smart they will honor the payment in order to avoid a PR mess.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Aug. 2nd, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - d14bl0 - Aug. 2nd, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
"reputable person"
Really, you think someone who asks you to commit fraud by underdeclaring the item on the customs form is reputable? Let this be a lesson to you. Sociopathic behavior is about the behavior, not the "chosen' victims of the behavior. In other words, if they'll screw Mother Russia, they'll screw you too.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 1st, 2006 10:08 am (UTC)
Re: "reputable person"
Bullshit. Government is corrupt. People weasel out of taxes every year that they can. You probably do it too. That doesn't make you a bad person.
Re: "reputable person" - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 11:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
bad luck or negligence to read paypal policies
No offence to you, but is it common sense that you don't sell anything to russian over ebay. Plus I mean without verified address I wouldn't even ship in United States....

Well what's there is there, I hope you get your money back. Good luck.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: bad luck or negligence to read paypal policies
The same thing happened to me, but i didnt give the money back to paypal. I have an accout to this day with a negative $900 balance. So i just opened up another paypal account and use that one. :)
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
Similar happened to me
My account was hacked, about 50 desiger purses were listed with 24 hour auctions and all had buy it now. About 5 of them sold before i noticed. All those people were contacted and told to send paypal payment to some other account. A couple of them were dumb enough to do so.

Ebay quickly delisted the items and refunded me listing fees when I alerted them...
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Similar happened to me
You my friend, have become the victim of a classic Phishing.


Probobly from the 419'ers, or someone linked to them.


You should have not been so trusting, and for the record, you did get pwned :)
Re: Similar happened to me - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Similar happened to me - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 05:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Happened to me, too
I tried to sell a Toshiba P15-S470... same thing happened, i had 3 auctions with Buy-It-now for $800 -- all nailed by overseas fake bidders. If you're going to sell on ebay, set your buyer restrictions to US only and require an immediate paypal transaction for Buy-it-Now. getting my listing fees back from ebay required pulling hair, nails, and teeth... if you ship to an unconfirmed address with paypal, you are S.O.L. -- when this happened to me, i called paypal first just to see if id be covered as i knew from the first wild bidder that something was awry. In Short, ebay sucks a$$, paypal sucks a$$, and even more so, since there wasnt half a million+ worth of c0caine in your macbook box, the FBI really doesnt give a sh*t. Sorry for your loss, and seriously, i totally feel your pain.

-chandleya
(Anonymous)
Aug. 1st, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
follow the rules and you won't get screwed
Follow the rules of the various protection programs for eBay and PayPal and you're covered and can get your money back. If you don't follow the rules and don't use common sense, you're screwed. Don't blame eBay or PayPal, all companies have similar policies.
Re: follow the rules and you won't get screwed - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 05:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
Dude
Money doesn't really exist "in your hand" until you've had it for two weeks. That goes for wire transfers, cashiers checks and regular checks. Even if the bank tells you after four days the money is there it isn't really. Still takes about two weeks... you can still get screwed.

I have a small account in a bank far from where I live that is linked to pay pal. If I get something via pay pal I get the cash in my hand via the PayPal Visa card at the local ATM... only then is the money in my hand. Otherwise wait two weeks. Everything else is just 1s and 0s.

Sorry you had to learn this the hard way.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
You should have known
You my friend, have become the victim of a classic Phishing.


Probobly from the 419'ers, or someone linked to them.


You should have not been so trusting, and for the record, you did get pwned :)
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC)
Re: You should have known
Totally pwned, you dumb fucker!! hahaha
Re: You should have known - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
from:SpinE - (Anonymous) - Aug. 1st, 2006 12:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
You shoulda let Paypal try and get the $2k
Rather than worry about the $-2k balance, you could've let them try and sue you for it, where all this stuff comes out into the open.

Paypal skirts way too many banking laws by not calling itself a bank... but it's true, there is no better alternative to ebay cash, but there is so very little protection for the consumer.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 1st, 2006 07:05 am (UTC)
Re: You shoulda let Paypal try and get the $2k
similar thing happened to me but i had transferred the money out of my paypal account into my bank account, but when paypal received contact from the buyer they then debited the monies from my bank account so there was no way around my not being out of pocket!
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